With the FA Youth Cup tie at Loftus Road coming up next week against Bristol City, some R’s fans may not know that QPR reached the semi-final for the first time in 1964. There was a convincing 4-2 away win at Southend in Round One with Ian Morgan and Mick Leach grabbing a couple of goals each. Rangers were then drawn away again in the next Round and forced a replay with Watford after drawing 2-2. Leach and Vafiadis were the scorers. Then a lone goal from Ian Morgan was enough to put the R’s through. A hard fought goaless draw against Tottenham led to a superb away win after extra time with Mick Leach netting a brace. Next up were Norwich City at Loftus Road in Round Four and the R’s managed a 2-0 victory with two goals from Frank Sibley. This was followed by a 2-1 win at Luton in Round Five with goals from Ian Morgan and George Jacks.
Unfortunately, Rangers didn’t go all the way and were knocked out by Swindon Town in the semi-finals after losing the first leg 2-0 at Loftus Road and then 4-1 in the return. Colin Parker was the scorer of our goal. 17 year old Peter Springett had played in all five games for England in the ‘Little World Cup’ in Holland before flying back for the first leg. Another emerging star was Don Rogers who had also played for England and he scored one of Swindon’s goals at Loftus Road and made the other one. The crowd was given as just under 5,000. The team lined up as follows: Springett, Gale, Nash, Blake, Hunt, Hazell, Sibley, Jacks, Leach, Vafiadis and Ian Morgan. Surprisingly, the second leg was played the same night as the First Team’s match against Reading?
However, Rangers did win the South East Counties League on Cup Final day with a victory over Chelsea. Their record reads: played 30, won 23, 6 were drawn and just one defeat. 106 goals were scored and 30 conceded. Chelsea finished 4 points behind on 48 points. The 1964-65 Handbook lists the leading scorers in league and cup that season as: Leach 29, Ian Morgan 26, Vafiadis 26 and Roger Morgan notched up 17 goals. The league also included the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham, Fulham and Portsmouth.
Derek Healy was the Youth Team Manager and he wrote: “Every effort is made to make the boys realise that they have not merely joined a professional football club but they have also become members of a happy team. Team spirit and a belief in the club is most essential. That is half the battle towards making a good footballer.”
As a reward for such a successful season, the Club Directors approached the FA who nominated the Rangers Youth Team to enter the Martini Tournament in Geneva. The Handbook also mentions that the Tournament winners were Torino of Italy who beat Caroupe from the host country and goes on to say: ‘The Swiss keeper saved Tony Hazell’s penalty thus denying a place in the final.
The FA Youth Cup started in 1952-53 and Rangers did well to reach Round Five. Manchester United actually won it for the first five seasons. Good luck to the team next Wednesday and turn out if you can to support them. Kick-off is 7pm and tickets are now available at £5.00 and £2.00 for concessions.